For the past few weeks there have been repeated but unconfirmed rumours of a renewal of the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia. People returning from Asmara describe the city as tense. And there are reports of Ethiopian troop movements along the border, with incursions into Eritrea itself. All very reminiscent of the situation in May 1998 – before the last border war.
As I say, none of this is confirmed. But it comes as the US State Department has warned its citizens not to go to Eritrea as they may not be granted exit visas. The situation in Asmara is described like this: “Crime in Asmara has increased as a result of deteriorating economic conditions accompanied by persistent food, water, and fuel shortages, and rapid price inflation. The combination of forced, open-ended, low-paying, national service for many Eritreans and severe unemployment leads some Eritreans to commit crime to support their families. Eritrean authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate crime or prosecute perpetrators.”
All very worrying.